The Hickman Mills school board is looking for two new members to fill unexpired terms on a board that has seen its fair share of shakeups over the past year.
Darrell Curls says he has resigned his seat because of the turmoil that has beset the board. There’s been too much leadership change, he said, and four of the district’s board members have only six months or less of service.
Curls had been on the board for nine years. He was president for the past year.
His resignation earlier this month followed a resignation by board member Byron Townsend, who left with two years remaining in his three-year term. Townsend could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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Curls said he resigned after the board voted in new president Carol Graves.
“It just seems like it was the right time,” Curls said. “We have had four new board presidents in the last four years. It has just been hard to get any consistency.”
Curls said he felt like he could not serve under Graves.
“The board is going in a different direction,” Curls said. “I have been fighting the political factions for nine years. I just felt it was time rather than going in there and ending up being a distraction. That’s the way it was going.”
Graves, in her third year on the board, said she tried to contact both Curls and Townsend, but neither returned phone calls or text messages.
“Whatever their reason for resigning, they did not share it with me,” said Graves, a retired special education teacher.
Graves said she suspected Curls wanted to remain in the president’s position. “But he never said anything,” she said. “I wanted to be president when he was president.”
Then in October, an election fiasco surfaced over whether Evelyn Hildebrand, who had won a very close election to the board, could actually be sworn in since she owed more than $5,000 in property taxes.
The board instead swore in Shawn C. Kirkwood, who was the low vote-getter. The court later ruled that the winner of the election deserved certification to the board. Hildebrand paid her tax bill. And rather than challenge the court order, Kirkwood resigned.
At the board’s Oct. 20 meeting Hildebrand was sworn in to take her seat. At the same meeting, the board appointed Wakisha Briggs to fill the unexpired term that had been left by Osman’s resignation.
Then in January, Superintendent Dennis Carpenter announced he would leave the provisionally accredited Hickman Mills School District in July to be superintendent of Lee’s Summit schools.
In February, the board selected Yolanda Cargile, the district’s current associate superintendent of student services, as its next superintendent. She replaces Carpenter on July 1.
In the coming weeks, the Hickman Mills board will receive resumes from district residents who want to fill the two unexpired terms. Applicants will be interviewed by the board, which will then select the two new board members.